Energy Efficiency

Energy Star Program Tightens Requirements for Computers

The ENERGY STAR Program announced that, beginning on July 20, 2007, it’s new specifications for computers have went into effect. The new specifications apply to a variety of products including desktop and notebook (or laptop) computers, game consoles, integrated computer systems, desktop-derived servers, and workstations. According to the announcement, only the market’s most energy-efficient computing products will qualify for the ENERGY STAR label.

Since computers are in use many more hours per day than in the past, ENERGY STAR has strengthened its requirements to better save energy among computers and related equipment under today’s usage patterns. Qualified products must now meet energy use guidelines in three distinct operating modes: standby, sleep mode, and while computers are being used. This approach ensures energy savings when a computer is active and performing a range of tasks, as well as when standing by. Newly qualified computers must also include a more efficient internal power supply.

To ensure these modes are actually used, all products must be shipped with the display set to go to sleep mode when inactive for 15 minutes or less, and with the computer set to go to sleep mode when inactive for 30 minutes or less (desktop-derived servers are exempt from the latter requirement).

By requiring efficiency savings across operating modes, the new computer specification is expected to save consumers and businesses more than $1.8 billion in energy costs over the next 5 years and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual emissions of 2.7 million vehicles.

According to the announcement, initially, consumers can expect to see fewer computer models qualifying for ENERGY STAR, as manufacturers change over their product lines to meet the more challenging requirements.

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